Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tid Bits

We are on this whole "The Flames Have Shitty Management" campaign, and we have been on it quite a while. And while we may have been ahead of the herd on that point, it seems that our argument is starting to develop critical mass.

Already this year people who are carry much more weight than us have chimed in on the topic, and in our positions favour. As an example, Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski alluded to the fact that the Flames management had saddled Brent Sutter with a bad team, and then added a guarantee of a playoff birth just to see the look on his face. He then went on to say:

"The blame will be placed on the construction of this team if it goes off the rails, as Dome Beers notes in a post on Jay Feaster and Ken King: If Ken King and Jay Feaster sold ownership on this team being a good one, then that is on King and Feaster, not on the players. The players are who we think they are. They have been for at least two seasons. If management still has unrealistic expectations for them, or if they kept their jobs in the offseason by selling those expectations, that speaks to the talent and ability of the management, if you ask us."

We bring this up for a reason. Often, it takes an outsiders perspective to give one a true vision. People who are too close to something are too close, and they miss seeing things. While the local media in Calgary is content to blame the coach or more often the players, it seems that those outside the bubble and those removed from threats to access see something else entirely: They see bad management.

Ritch Winters, founder of hockey agency 'The Sports Corporation', took to twitter recently to lambaste what he perceives to be problems in the culture of hockey management. Mr. Winters is trying to establish an MBA program for sports management, so it is in his interest to present the current crop of managers as nincompoops. He wants people to enroll in his program. We understand that.

With that caveat aside, we thought we would take a look into what he had to say about the Flames, and specifically, to us.

Besides the current management of the Flames tendency to not know how to value their assets, or other organizations assets for that matter, one of the reasons we think they need to be fired is that under their watch, a culture of complacency has been allowed to develop. This is best embodied in the charge of 'Country Club' being leveled at the organization, a charge that has been around for many years. Put simply, we think it is much too comfortable to play in Calgary. Ritch Winters would seem to agree.

Some foreplay: Mr. Winters sent the these tweets:

"Bad ownership and management really is the problem with underperforming teams. No champs in management. Not likely to get one on the ice."

"Hockey reporters seldom give us much of what is wrong with hockey. Their buddies in management will cut them off. Its too bad for fans."

"Why is it teams under .500 think they still have a chance at this point? Smart owners refuse to recognize bad management is their problem."

"Jay Feaster did not select a single core player with 56 draft picks as GM in Tampa. How does he qualify 2 restock a team with no prospects?"

"Flames projected to miss playoffs for 5 more years based on best analytics available. Unless Leland can be Dominik Hasek. He just might be."

(Talking about the Flames vaunted 'new' scouting system) "They are old school. The changes they have made are 5 years behind the times - at least. They just don't know that."

You get the drift. And actually, he is saying things that we say here on DB, which is just the crazy, isn't it?

Anyways, getting to the point. We liked what Mr. Winters was saying, even granting him his salt, so we looked at his website. It has a page that shows you some of the clients the agency has. Some of the clients the agency has are Flames. Gio and Tangs.

Which we thought was a little odd. Here we have an agent who talked a lot of noise about when he was finding a team for Hossa, he used analytics to place him on a team with a great chance to win the Cup, allowing two of his players to sign in Calgary, who he very clearly does not think has a chance to win the Cup.

We then sent him a tweet: "I wonder if told Tanguay and Gio how bad the Flames were when he negotiated their contracts. "

We got a response: "I expressed that concern over and over. Other factors came into play. Family. Teammates. Money. Not as simple as u suggest."

Which to us is Black Rob. Because, with all do respect for Mr. Winters, it is as simple as we suggest: These players signed in Calgary because it is comfortable. Winning, as per the Sports Corporations founding member, was not as important as 1) Not having to move the family, 2) Playing with teammates they liked (we are assuming he is talking about Tanguay here but who knows), 3) The money they were offered (did the Flames bid against themselves?).

Seems simple to us: Winning isn't a priority with this club, with the management on it, or with the players on it. We have talked about it before, with regards to the Glencross contract. Again, reasons for signing were family, proximity to his land out in the country, and the ability to network with the local companies downtown. All reasons that have to do with comfort, and have very little to do with winning.

Fish rot from the head down. There is a culture problem in Calgary; it starts with Ken King and it permeates down through the organization. The term 'winning' has become a glibly used sales tool, as opposed to the organizations reason for existence. We are glad outsiders like Greg Wyshynski and Ritch Winters see it, and are pointing it out.

We are just wondering when the local season ticket holders, media, and fans will wake up, take a step back, and realize it, too.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias Ken King should be fired.


  1. "Flames projected to miss playoffs for 5 more years based on best analytics available. Unless Leland can be Dominik Hasek. He just might be."

    Interesting stuff from Winter and I think some of it is accurate. This quote is just nonsense though. It's flat out impossible to model hockey (or, just about anything for that matter) on that sort of timescale. Way, way too many variables.

    For instance, 5 years ago OTT and ANA were 100+ point teams, PHI placed last in the NHL, CHI finished 13th in the West, Joe and Vincent Lecavalier were 100 point players and Chris Mason, JS Giguere and Rick Dipietro were in the top-10 in terms of overall SV%.

  2. *Joe Sakic and Vincent Lecavalier

  3. I think it's reasonable to predict a general decline, rise or status quo.

    I know DB doesn't like the FAN, but hearing Friedman on there is worth it, since he also lambasted the Flames the last couple of times.

    I think there's something rotten going on in Flamesville. Not sure what, but there's been a lot of negative sentiment towards the team recently by a lot of outside people.


  5. Dome Beers,

    I love your blog. If we're ever in the same room, Imma grab your ass.

  6. Ya'll see that comment?


  7. To address the non-Angela ish:

    On that particular Winters quote, yeah, I agree with you, Kent. If I believed in 5 year projections I'd probably be a communist.

    I take his point on that quote more to be that the future of the franchise doesn't look bright from where we stand today, which I think is a pretty reasonable statement.

    On the FAN, losing the TSN guests really hurt it, I think. Adding Brynn (gesundheit) wasn't a great move, IMO. You gotta work with what you got. I'd move Walker to the afternoons with Pat, and go with Rhett and Boomer in the mornings. Maybe move Brynn there so Rhett can make fun of him. Or fire Brynn. Lefitte can do the morning sidekick thang.


    Here is a CONSPIRACY for you... do you think the intense negativity on Iginla is a result of the Flames powers-that-be trying to pressure Iginla into asking for a trade? Did somebody order a code red?

  8. Merry Christmas DB...sink your teeth into this article:

    King is a fucking douchebag...anyone I have ever met who has had any interaction with him is unanimous is his douchebaggery - he plays his passive/aggressive bullshit to a tee.

    I love in the article how he is already distancing himself from the on-ice product as though all he does is sit in his fucking office all day selling jerseys - fuck you King.

    I will do a jig the day this guy is fucking canned - he is the rot and cancer in this organization...nothing will appreciably improve until his ass is permanently somewhere in Mexico huckstering newspapers to the local peasants.

  9. "On the FAN, losing the TSN guests really hurt it, I think. Adding Brynn (gesundheit) wasn't a great move, IMO. You gotta work with what you got. I'd move Walker to the afternoons with Pat, and go with Rhett and Boomer in the mornings. Maybe move Brynn there so Rhett can make fun of him. Or fire Brynn. Lefitte can do the morning sidekick thang. "

    Walker needs to die. He's totally, completely, utterly useless. He adds nothing to the show.

    Thank GOD Rhett went full time (or whatever the hell it's called), as the morning show was sinking fast after Richards left.

  10. I'm with you DB on the TSN guys. It was expected as soon as it started up its own radio show though. The only Sportsnet guys that I'd like to hear are really Brunt and McCown. Bobcat will never lower himself to the point where he does someone else's radio show though.

    I'll admit that I'm pretty surprised at how much I've been enjoying the morning show. Rhett is great. I think it works out pretty well with Rhett and Boomer hacking on Walker. I don't think Walker can quite carry a show or just be part of a two person squad but he's the only guy on the Fan that actually has a radio voice and I think he's improved significantly since he has taken on a bigger role.

    Brynn is not good. I liked it better when Steinberg was on his own in the afternoons. Steinberg may not have the best voice for radio but the guy works his ass off and seems really prepared.

  11. @anonymous

    Really? "Walker needs to die"? Shit man, remember when we had Mitch Peacock on the radio and the "Joe and Kevin Show" with Usselman? Or even Dave Rowe?

    Walker is still kind of green but he's getting better.

  12. syphilis is better radio than Brynn.

  13. Yes, really. He makes Mitch Peacock seem like Elton John. Hell, I'll take back Usselman and Joe Sport's corpse over Walker.

    Walker's on a morning show in a big city - a HUGE opportunity. What does he do with it? Squat. Put some effort in, fella.

  14. Just had to chime in here since I am interested in all things radio. Brynn is fucking TERRIBLE, I have never heard a sports radio announcer who has less of an opinion than that guy. Seriously, TAKE A FUCKING STAND on something. The other day I was listening, and Steinberg was talking about how ridiculous it was that such and such a player was nominated for some CFL award, how the other player clearly had a better season. Bryn(n?) chimes in and says something about how some voters will take into account their expectations of the team before the season begins, so like if a team does better than they expected, the player from that team may get more consideration towards an award. He knows this because he "used to vote on the awards blah blah". So, Steinberg gets on him and says "are you saying you would have voted for player A instead of B?". And I swear to god, it took 10 fucking minutes for this fucking pussy to NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION. He just waffled around saying how some people do things and he might, but he's not sure. Jeesus, that was terrible radio.

    On a brighter note, the morning show is better than I would have expected, except Walker talks too much. If they could just get him doing the weather and traffic and getting ragged on like the girl on the X92.9 morning show used to, that would be perfect. He shouldn't really get to have an opinion, in my opinion.

  15. Brynn is the Switzerland of radio.

  16. Does Walker read these comments? I think he had at least one opinion today.

  17. So this is what you guys do on American Thanksgiving. Hands down the best DB post and accompanying comment thread since it started becoming clearer to those mainstreamers what has been obvious to DB readers and alike bloggers since Brad Stuart was chumming it up with Bubba on the 3rd line. Fak.